South China Sea Arbitration: Philippines’ Case Moot As Tribunal Is Violating UNCLOS – China

South China Sea Arbitration: Philippines’ Case Moot As Tribunal Is Violating UNCLOS – China
Xi Jinping Global Panorama / Flickr CC
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn
Pin to Pinterest
Share on StumbleUpon
What's This?

Time and time again, China has reiterated that the territorial dispute case on the issue of South China Sea lodged by the Philippines before the United Nations tribunal in The Hague is moot and inconsistent with the provisions of UNCLOS—the same international law that the Philippines invoked in its case against China.


In an article published in a state-run news website titled China Voice: South China Sea arbitration lacks legal basis, the Philippines has been accused of plotting a political provocation in the guise of unilaterally lodging a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2013.

It can be recalled that in October last year, the same court ruled acquiring jurisdiction of the case. But China remained adamant in recognizing the court’s jurisdiction nor participating in the proceedings whatsoever. In fact, China was consistently insisting that it has no plans of recognizing the decision of the court regardless of its outcome, which is expected to hand down decision by this month or next month.

South China Sea Dispute

Like us on Facebook

In the article, the same case was intended to politically provoke China with the backing of the West, particularly the United States. It noted that the Philippines wants to make it appear that the case’s main intent was to exercise territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea and maritime delimitation.

“The move by the tribunal has worsened tensions between China and the Philippines, affected regional stability and international maritime order, and contradicted its purpose of peaceful dispute settlement. Moreover, by unilaterally initiating the arbitration, the Philippines not only abandoned the ‘Pacta sunt servanda’ principle in international law, which means ‘agreements must be kept,” the report noted.

South China Sea Tensions

Meanwhile, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III earlier accused China of breaking deal on South China in the Scarborough shoal, an outcrop group of islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reported.

Aquino was referring to a deal between China and the Philippines when the two countries agreed to withdraw its ships in the region. Only the Philippines honored the deal, Aquino added.

“Now, their continued presence is something that we have continuously objected to. There was a deal, which we observed religiously. We hope the other side will do what we have done,” Aquino was quoted as saying by the Reuters.

Also Read: South China Sea Dispute: US Calls Nations To Support Philippines

Want to get updates on South China Sea dispute? Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


  • britbob

    Effective sovereignty Argument Uninhabited Islands: A case that supports this view of effective sovereignty is relevant is the Minquiers and Ecrehos Case, France/UK of 17th November 1953. In this case both the UK and France had requested the ICJ to determine which country held sovereignty over the uninhabited Islets and rocks in the Minquiers and Ecrehos. France had claimed sovereignty because of historic sovereignty going back to the Dutchy of Normandy in the 11th century while the UK claimed that Jersey had historically exercised administrational jurisdiction on them. The Court decided that in the absence of valid treaty provisions, they considered the argument that the British government has exercised effective control to be superior, so that sovereignty control over the Minquiers and Ecrehos belonged to the UK. (the UK had protested to the French government when a French national had intended to build a house on one of the islats and any deaths occurring on the islets were dealt with by inquests held on Jersey). ICJ Minquiers & Ecrehos Judgment, 17 Nov 1953, p28, paras 6 & 12.

    No delimitation between states with opposite or adjacent coasts may be affected unilaterally by one of those states. For some interesting judgments on territorial seas and to gain an understanding as to how the world court deals with such disputes: